Mosaic: What, Exactly, Would a Palestinian State Look Like?

Sept. 20 2016

So asks Daniel Doron, noting that there is scarcely a head of state or diplomat who, while professing loyalty to the “two-state solution,” devotes any attention to this question. If the performance of the Palestinian Authority is a guide, the answer is not promising:

[The Oslo Accords] enabled Yasir Arafat to establish a corrupt dictatorship whose energies were directed at the destruction of Israel no matter the cost to the disenfranchised poor in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinians had enjoyed relative freedom and prosperity under a mostly benign Israeli occupation. Under Arafat they experienced an iron fist as he jailed, tortured, and murdered any who opposed him (and many he only imagined opposed him).

One of Arafat’s first actions was to destroy the economic “peace process” begun in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, a process of informal reconciliation through economic cooperation that lasted twenty years. . . .

There were remarkably few terrorist attacks during this period. The few that occurred were mostly perpetrated by PLO hirelings. Not that the Palestinians were enamored of Israeli occupation: no one likes to live under occupation, even a relatively benign one. But, realizing the economic and social benefits it brought them, many Palestinians found the occupation a lesser evil and learned to live with it. . . .

After Oslo, [by contrast], the Palestinians were subjected to . . . a kleptocracy run by Arafat. To this day, the Palestinian Authority continues to rob, oppress, and impoverish its citizens. . . .

Peace can still be resuscitated, but not while the Palestinian Authority continues to be supported by billions from U.S. and European taxpayers. Only then will decent Palestinians, now terrorized into silence, be able to build a civil society, the basis for a better life and a healthy polity. Such a civil society would negotiate a real and lasting peace with Israel.